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Annabell Fender

Doctoral Fellow


Campus Am Neuen Palais
Am Neuen Palais 10
Building 1, Room 0.15
14469 Potsdam


consulting hours
by appointment only

Dissertation Project

Thinking with Bees in the Patchy Anthropocene: Multispecies Kinship in Histories and Futures

In this project I seek to examine and historicise the multispecies relationship(s) between humans and bees by thinking with bees—exploring how they functioned symbolically as well as non-symbolically in our shared history. It will not only deal with conventional beekeeping and minor manifestations of keeping Apis mellifera, but also draw on entanglements between humans and wild bees and other native bee species. By drawing on a multitude of literary, cultural and apiary texts, the project seeks to unearth historical and contemporary instances of bee-agency in the patchy Anthropocene (Tsing et al.). The central questions are: How is multispecies flourishing and kinship between humans and bees possible in a time of „insect apocalypse“ (Goulson 387)? and instead of decimating the Western honeybee for being a dominant species, having become one through capitalist and colonialist processes, how do we restructure this set of human-bee relations via anticolonial scientific thought?


Annabell Fender is a doctoral fellow at the DFG-funded research training group minor cosmopolitanisms. She has previously worked in various positions as a student assistant at the English department of the University of Potsdam, from which she holds a M.Ed. in History and English. Her PhD project, tentatively titled ‘Thinking with Bees in the Patchy Anthropocene: Multuspecies Kinship in Histories and Futures’, is situated in the fields of environmental humanities/ecocriticism, postcolonial studies, and critical animal studies. Further research interests include (but are not limited to) gender studies, fat studies, social/cultural history and new materialism.

Publications / Presentations

"The Utopianism of Universal Basic Income," Global Modernities, 10 June 2021, Student Essays. [publication]

“Saving the Other Bees: Vulnerability of Honeybees and Native Bees in the midst of a varroa destructor outbreak in Australia.” Postcolonial Narrations Forum, University of Bonn, 20-22 October 2022. [presentation]

“Starting to Think with Bees in the Anthropocene.” critical uninhabitations workshop, University of Rostock, 23-25 June 2022. [presentation]

“Thinking with Bees in the Patchy Anthropocene.” Invited talk in Critical Animal Studies seminar by Prof. Dr. Anja Schwarz, University of Potsdam, 7 July 2022. [presentation]